„A native of Iraq, Ashour has been in exile because of his work in the human rights sector – especially women’s rights and LGBT+ rights. He also never really hid the fact he himself was gay. He has endured it all – police arrests, government monitoring and homophobia-fuelled bashings – but it wasn’t until he started receiving threats concerning his loved ones that he made the difficult decision to not return home in late 2014. He was in Sweden on a work trip and by early 2015 the country granted him protection as a political refugee.
Ashour then founded IraQueer in March that year. Within months, he was grabbing worldwide media attention with The Huffington Post, The Independent and Washington Post among those publishing stories about ‚Iraq’s only gay activist‘. Speaking to Australian media for the first time, Ashour admitted he has never been comfortable with that label. This was because IraQueer has grown to 40 active members who, due to safety reasons, carry out their work in secrecy on the ground in Iraq. (…) While homosexuality was decriminalised in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, there are no laws protecting LGBT+ citizens. In addition, many judges order executions for same-sex sexual behaviour based on Sharia law, even though Iraq’s legal system does not defer to it.“ (Elias Jahshan: „Meet Amir Ashour, the man dubbed ‚Iraq’s only gay activist‘“)